Prior to the screening of about 30 minutes of new and behind-the-scenes "Hobbit" footage at Comic-Con, cast members Sir Ian McKellen, Andy Serkis, Martin Freeman, and Richard Armitage spoke with MTV News about returning to Middle-earth.
"Much of it is the same,” said McKellen of returning to Middle-earth nearly a decade after “The Lord of the Rings” films were released to film a story which took place 77 years prior. “If you've got 900 people working on the set one day, we'll probably know them all by sight, and you [Serkis] probably know everyone's name. I'm not as diligent as that, but the new people are the actors, so a lot of new actors, but they're not new to us because we've know them of old, from back home in the U.K. It feels very much the same but a little bit different. A little bit more streamlined.”
"We're all a little bit older, and there are more children about on set," Serkis added. "The crew is fantastic. Literally, it is a bit of a time warp actually, isn't it? Because they're exactly the same people doing exactly the same jobs. Apart from that, the energy and the feel of it is pretty similar."
Armitage, new to Comic-Con, said his experience joining the “Hobbit” cast has been “awesome, and coming here today and seeing the way the fans are expecting the film, it's really exciting, because you see that expectation and the love for the books and the trilogy, so that's been great."
The crew, according to the actors, has become like a family after spending a year and a half shooting the two “Hobbit” films.
“It basically feels like a home movie,” McKellen explained, “because Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh live together, and they live next door to Phillipa Bowens, who is the third screenplay writer. And we all live within five minutes of their houses. And we tumble out of beds — our separate beds — and then go over the hill to work.
“That's almost unique in filmmaking and everywhere in the world. It just feels as if it's sort of grounded. When you leave the studio behind and go back home, it's over the hill, but next door to you are your colleagues, and I like that feeling.”